Scientific information on mistletoe therapy

These pages offer an up-to-date overview of the scientific studies on the clinical application of mistletoe therapy for cancer. We address physicians, scientists, journalists, representatives from politics, self-administration and health insurance companies as well as interested students and patients wishing to learn about the current state of clinical research and important clinical observations from the original sources. 

Since about 1980, oncological mistletoe research has become considerably more dynamic, with the result that today we can rely on a growing number of scientific studies, regarding safety, combination with other therapies, clinical evidence (overall survival, tumour response) including current meta-analyses and reviews, clinical studies, studies from health services research and case reports. A further section is devoted to the findings on the improvement of quality of life under add-on mistletoe therapy. A large number of studies on the pre-clinical findings like pharmacological constituents and mode of action is also available. 

Meanwhile mistletoe therapy as an add-on to conventional cancer therapies has become incorporated into various oncological guidelines – we will report on the current status.

All of the information pages have been compiled and edited according to scientific criteria. They do not contain any kind of advertising for any preparations or companies.

Complementary cancer therapies are common. In Europe up to 80 percent of cancer patients use complementary therapies (8, 9, 10, 11, 12), mostly herbal remedies [1]; in German-speaking Central Europe the most common are mistletoe extracts (Viscum album L., VAE) [6, 7]. Up to 62 percent of patients use mistletoe therapy [13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19]. 

The individual preparations are described in the information for patients, but this information is also relevant for doctors.

Mistletoe therapy was proposed for and introduced into cancer therapy in 1920 by Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman, the founders of Anthroposophic medicine. Since then there have been numerous studies on the influence of mistletoe extracts on tumour growth.


Last update: April 30th, 2020/AB


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